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a screenshot of an academic journal article entitled Early acquisition of sign language What neuroimaging data tell us

Early acquisition of sign language What neuroimaging data tell us

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”Early acquisition of a natural language, signed or spoken, has been shown to fundamentally impact both one’s ability to use the first language, and the ability to learn subsequent languages later in life (Mayberry 2007, 2009). This review summarizes a number of recent neuroimaging studies in order to detail the neural bases of sign language acquisition. The logic of this review is to present research reports that contribute to the bigger picture showing that people who acquire a natural language, spoken or signed, in the normal way possess specialized linguistic abilities and brain functions that are missing or deficient in people whose exposure to natural language is delayed or absent. Comparing the function of each brain region with regards to the processing of spoken and sign languages, we attempt to clarify the role each region plays in language processing in general, and to outline the challenges and remaining questions in understanding language processing in the brain.”

You can read more in this journal article written by Evie Malaia and Ronnie B. Wilbur.

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A screenshot of an academic journal entitled Acquiring English as a second language via print: The task for deaf children

Acquiring English as a second language via print: The task for deaf children

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”Only a minority of profoundly deaf children read at age-level. We contend this reflects cognitive and linguistic impediments from lack of exposure to a natural language in early childhood, as well as the inherent difficulty of learning English only through the written modality. Yet some deaf children do acquire English via print. The current paper describes a theoretical model of how children could, in principle, acquire a language via reading and writing. The model describes stages of learning which represent successive, conceptual insights necessary for second/foreign language learning via print. Our model highlights the logical difficulties present when one cannot practice a language outside of reading/ writing, such as the necessity of translating to a first language, the need for explicit instruction, and difficulty that many deaf children experience in understanding figurative language. Our model explains why learning to read is often a protracted process for deaf children and why many fail to make progress after some initial success. Because language acquisition is thought to require social interaction, with meaning cued by extralinguistic context, the ability of some deaf individuals to acquire language through print represents an overlooked human achievement worthy of greater attention by cognitive scientists.”

You can read more in this journal article by Robert J. Hoffmeister and. Catherine L. Caldwell-Harris.

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Text reads let's clear up some myths about your deaf child

Myths About Your Deaf Child

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A LEAD-K and Nyle DiMarco production created by Convo.

There are many misconceptions about how a Deaf child acquires language. We’ve seen many of them: sign language hinders your child’s ability to learn English; parents must be fluent in sign language in order to teach their Deaf child. What’s the truth? Five common myths about your Deaf child, resolved.

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a screenshot of a research paper called Education and health of children with hearing loss: the necessity of signed languages

Education and health of children with hearing loss: the necessity of signed languages

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Medical and educational interventions for children with hearing loss often adopt a single approach of spoken language acquisition through the use of technology, such as cochlear implants. These approaches generally ignore signed languages, despite no guarantees that the child will acquire fluency in a spoken language. Research with children who have a cochlear implant and do not use a signed language indicates that language outcomes are very variable and generally worse than their non-deaf peers. In contrast, signing children with cochlear implants have timely language development similar to their non-deaf peers that also exceeds their non-signing peers with cochlear implants. Natural signed languages have been shown to have the same neurocognitive benefits as natural spoken language while being fully accessible to deaf children. However, it is estimated less than 2% of the 34 million deaf children worldwide receive early childhood exposure to a signed language. Most deaf children are, therefore, at risk for language deprivation during the critical period of language acquisition in the first five years of life. Language deprivation has negative consequences for developmental domains, which rely on timely language acquisition. Beyond the adverse effects on a child’s education, language deprivation also affects deaf people’s mental and physical health and access to health care, among others. Therefore, policies in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities are needed. Such policies would ensure early intervention and education services include signed languages and bilingual programmes where the signed language is the language of instruction.

Read more about this topic in Joseph Murray, Wyatte Hall, and Kristin Snoddon’s research paper.

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A screenshot of the various paths a parent can take with cochlear implants

Cochlear Implants: Navigating a Forest of Information

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The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Centre has created a document to help users explore cochlear implants. This webpage, developed through the Cochlear Implant Education Center at the Clerc Center, assists parents and educators in navigating their way through the extensive “forest” of information about cochlear implants. Information is formatted into modules on a variety of topics. This resource is available in English and Spanish.

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A young girl smiling at an audiologist

Cochlear Implants: Making Sure Families Are Aware of the Full Picture

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“When a child is identified as being deaf, a cochlear implant may be recommended early in the intervention process. For hearing families, this recommendation often comes with relief that there is a “medical fix” to providing their child with the ability to hear. While a cochlear implant provides significant benefit to many children, spoken language outcomes are extremely varied. This means that there should be a standard procedure, involving both medical and educational professionals, to provide families with the full spectrum of “what-ifs” and “what’s involved,” from surgery, to activation and monitoring of the device, to listening and spoken language training, to linguistic, educational, and social-emotional considerations. It is essential that families are provided with the full range of possible outcomes, opportunities, and needed services so they can make informed decisions about choosing a cochlear implant within the context of their “whole deaf child.”

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An image providing tips for a deaf accessible childcare centre

Deaf Friendly Childcare Centre

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These resoucres offer a guide to create deaf friendly child cares centre. This includes tips to ensure a centre is ASL friendly and how to improve Deaf accessibility overall.

Deaf Friendly Childcare Centre Guide

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Tips to Ensure A Childcare Centre is ASL Friendly

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